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Facebook asks court to dismiss $15 billion privacy suit

Social network argues that the plaintiffs don't show how Facebook's secret tracking of users' Internet activity harms those users.

Facebook has asked a federal court to dismiss a $15 billion privacy lawsuit because the Facebook users suing the social network didn't specify how they were injured by the company's actions, Bloomberg reported today.

The suit, filed in May, accuses Facebook of violating user privacy by tracking which Web sites the users visit even when they're logged out of Facebook.

Matthew Brown, a lawyer representing Facebook, told a U.S. district judge in court in San Jose, Calif., that the plaintiffs haven't said which sites they've visited, what kind of data was collected, or whether Facebook disclosed the information to anyone.

The plaintiffs' attorney, Stephen Grygiel, said in court that Facebook was tracking users' activity by intercepting their interactions with third-party Web sites, and that this action is not covered in Facebook's privacy policies. Users said they consented only to the tracking -- which places cookies, or files that track and transmit which sites are visited, on their computers -- while they are logged in to Facebook.

The, lawsuit, which combines 21 privacy lawsuits against the social network into a single, class-action suit, was filed on behalf of U.S. residents who subscribed to Facebook from May 2010 to September 2011 in 10 different states, including California, Texas, and Alabama.